Scorching Brands Pole For Andy Priaulx On BTCC Return

Returning memories of 2001, Andy Priaulx secured pole position for the maiden race of his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship comeback during qualifying at Brands Hatch’s Indy circuit.

The 30-minute qualifying session was held in the best conditions of the day at the Kent circuit, where it was the triple World Touring Car Champion that welcomed himself back to BTCC in the best fashion possible thanks to a superlative 48.411s lap.

19 cars were covered by a second, Priaulx instantly showing his pace for West Surrey Racing in the BMW 125i M-Sport by edging out a trio of BMR Racing Volkswagen CCs in a 10-minute dash for the top spot.

Priaulx held that after snatching the advantage from Colin Turkington within the final 15 minutes, before a delay in proceedings was caused when the front-left wheel of Martin Depper‘s Eurotech Racing Honda Civic made a bid for freedom at Druids.

A 10-minute shootout was the conclusion after Depper’s machine was cleared, the 1.2-mile Indy circuit fairly crowded as 24 runners fought over their grid positions for the opening race of the season.

The crammed circuit almost claimed Gordon Shedden‘s Honda first of all, the Scot’s first effort ruined by a wide moment through the Paddock Hill Bend gravel trap.

For a moment it seemed as though WSR would be celebrating further as Rob Collard moved into the top three, but it was BMR Racing that were the biggest threats to Priaulx’s time as Aron Smith put his two team-mates in the shade by going second ahead of Jason Plato and reigning champion, Turkington.

Collard was next up in another WSR BMW, the team now a Constructor entry for 2015, while a late effort from Triple Eight‘s new recruit, Jack Goff, netted the former BMR man sixth on the grid in the MG6 GT after an early off at McLaren.

Shedden ended as top Honda for the Yuasa Racing team on their new Civic Type-R’s debut, Sam Tordoff next up in the third WSR BMW having led early in the running. Tom Ingram again showcased Speedworks‘ improvements in ninth, Andrew Jordan starting 10th for MG a year after he clinched pole position at the same venue.

Matt Neal was one of many to be hampered by traffic during the session and finished 11th overall ahead of Adam Morgan‘s Mercedes A-Class, Mike Bushell top rookie in 18th place for AmD Tuning while Josh Cook met the barriers at the final corner on his way to 20th place for Power Maxed Racing.

Warren Scott was one of the absentees from the session, his BMR Volkswagen CC unable to be repaired from his second practice shunt, while Andy Wilmot ended his session early in the Proton Gen-2 after qualifying 26th.

Brands Hatch Indy Qualifying Times

1111Andy PriaulxTeam IHG Rewards Club48.411s
240Aron SmithBMR48.480s
399Jason PlatoBMR48.534s
41Colin TurkingtonBMR48.535s
56Robert CollardJCT600 Racing with GardX48.562s
631Jeff GoffMG 888 Racing48.599s
752Gordon SheddenHonda Yuasa Racing48.608s
87Sam TordoffJCT600 Racing with GardX48.631s
980Tom IngramSpeedworks Motorsport48.643s
1077Andrew JordanMG 888 Racing48.656s
1125Matt NealHonda Yuasa Racing48.694s
1233Adam MorganWix Racing48.717s
13101Rob AustinExocet Alco Sense48.895s
1417Dave NewshamPower Maxed Racing48.911s
1516Aiden MoffatLaser Tools Racing48.931s
1654Hunter AbbottExocet Alco Sense48.964s
1755Jeff SmithEurotech Racing49.101s
1821Mike BushellAmO Tuning.com49.367s
1930Martin DepperEurotech Racing49.492s
2066Josh CookPower Maxed Racing49.517s
2114Alex MartinDextra Racing49.575s
2211Simon BelcherHandy Motorsport49.633s
2395Stewart LinesHouseman Racing50.596s
2422Derek PalmerInfiniti Support Our Troops Racing50.609s
2523Kieran GallagherRCIB Insurance Racing50.762s
2612Andy WilmotWelch Motorsport52.665s
2739Warren ScottBMRNo Time